From the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to the peak of the Cheaha Mountain, Alabama boasts an array of campgrounds. With around 53 miles of coastline and diverse terrain, the state offers outdoor activities that range from skiing to simply relaxing in the sun by the seashore. Come prepared with everything you may need, and pack emergency provisions and a first aid kit.
Located on top of Cheaha Mountain within the community of Clay County, Alabama, Cheaha State Park is surrounded by nearly 400,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service National Forest. It has the state’s highest swimming pool, which is fed with mountain spring water and offers majestic views. In addition to the pool, the park has a seven-acre lake with a diving platform, beaches, and playground. Visitors here often try rock climbing and rappelling. Cheaha State Park offers 26 primitive campsites along Tower Road; tent and hammock campsites are also available elsewhere in the park.
Flowing 90 feet into the Black Creek ravine, the stunning falls are named after the Native American princess Noccalula. According to legend, the princess chose to jump from the top of the falls rather than endure an unwanted, forced marriage. The Noccalula Falls Park and Campground offers tent and RV camping. Visitors can enjoy 15 Black Creek trails for hiking, cycling, running, or walking. The campground has a friendly staff, and it’s protected by a security gate for added safety.
Located on Lookout Mountain—mentioned in the locally beloved “My Home’s In Alabama” by the band Alabama—Bear Creek Log Cabins offers a good blend of access to the great outdoors and modern amenities like hot tubs. It is located on 201 acres, and it offers campers awe-inspiring high mountain views. The cabins are restored, authentic pioneer cabins. The site is adjacent to Little River Canyon National Preserve, where you can hike to waterfalls and sandstone cliffs.
Subterranean adventures await campers here. The Cathedral Caverns State Park serves as a naturally historic preserve, recreation area, and campsite. Formerly known as "Bat Cave," this National Natural Landmark was renamed for its cathedral-like aesthetics (the entrance is 25 feet tall and 126 feet wide). Notably, it was used as a filming location for the 1995 movie "Tom and Huck." Tours are available daily, or you can explore on your own. The primitive tent campsites of Cathedral Caverns offer guests access to a bathhouse, while backcountry campsites are available for backpackers.
With a campground that remains somewhat of a hidden treasure, Chickasabogue Park is a county park that spans 1,100 acres. It welcomes outdoorsy types of all ages, and you will feel immersed in Mother Nature from the moment you arrive. You can enjoy the beach by Chickasabogue Creek, where onsite canoe rentals are available, and there are more than 17 miles of trails for hiking and cycling. Picnic pavilions can be reserved, and basketball courts, softball fields, a playground, and a performing arts stage are also accessible to visitors and campers.
With 2 miles of pristine white sand beaches, Gulf State Park is an ideal spot throughout the year. It has both lakeside and beachside camping, and those with canine companions will delight in the dog pond by Lake Shelby. With nearly 500 campsites in total, the park's outpost campsites are 1.5 miles away from the beach; each military-style tent has four cots, and bathrooms and showers are available onsite. There’s a two-night minimum, and reservations can be made up to a year in advance.
You'll feel like you stepped back in time when you arrive at the Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Spanning 1,500 acres, this Central Alabama park has a working gristmill and cotton gin. From spring to fall, craftsmen, millers, and blacksmiths can be found demonstrating their trades, while craft shops located in restored pioneer cabins are open for browsing. Separated into three different areas, the park has 195 recently renovated campsites that offer access to bathhouses I100 primitive campsites are also available). There's an onsite general store for firewood and snacks, as well as a playground for the kids. Fun train rides are offered nearby.
The campground at Dauphin Island Park and Beach is incredibly beautiful. While you're here, you can enjoy direct access to a secluded white sand beach, public boat launches, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, and walking and biking trails. Open year-round, the campground has 151 campsites, a general store, recycling center, playground, and off-leash dog park.
A National Natural Landmark, Dismals Canyon is a 85-acre haven for outdoors lovers in Northwest Alabama. Its Sleeping Water Campsite has creature comforts like a soda fountain and general store where you can pick up last-minute treats and souvenirs. Rent one of two cozy cabins, then enjoy luxuries like massages and a complimentary wine basket. Many visitors come here for the dismalites, which are closely related to the glowworms that are found in New Zealand. Unique to only a few spots on the planet, the bioluminescent dismalites light up the canyon at night. It’s worth taking the guided night tour to see them and learn more about these special creatures—just take care not to bother them in any way.
Located near Birmingham, Alabama's biggest state park is a popular getaway into nature for big city residents. Spanning 9,940 acres, Oak Mountain State Park has 50 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, with stunning views along the way. The onsite campground has 60 primitive tent sites, with six additional tent sites offering both water and electricity. You can enjoy meals at one of the picnic tables or fire rings, and bathhouses will help you stay refreshed.